By Jeff Gallatin
A veteran North Olmsted police officer had the right tools to nab a Cleveland man suspected of taking several items from the hardware section of Sears at least twice in less than two weeks.
George D. Bokor, 43, is facing theft charges stemming from his allegedly trying to take tools from the Westfield Great Northern business Jan. 28, as well as at least one other incident earlier in the month, and possibly more, police said.
Officials said the charges stem from North Olmsted Patrolman Jack Butcher seeing a red Volkswagen Beetle parked in the fire lane at Sears on the north side of the building with people in it. Butcher was in traffic Monday afternoon waiting for the traffic light to turn.
“Typical Jack, he remembered that there had been a red Volkswagen Beetle parked in the same spot used in a theft (Jan. 17) just a few days before that,” North Olmsted police Capt. Mike Kilbane said. “He saw that, noted there were people in the vehicle, notified dispatch and went to investigate.”
Kilbane said as Butcher, a nearly 15-year veteran of the police force, approached the Beetle, he saw a man leaving Sears in a hurry with what appeared to be several tools. Butcher wrote in his report that the man threw the items into the Beetle, got in the driver’s seat and appeared ready to flee.
“Jack pulled his cruiser in front of the Beetle, stopping it from leaving, and then ordered the driver to get out of the vehicle and get on the ground,” Kilbane said. “He’s a veteran officer and reacted when he saw something that was suspicious.”
Butcher’s report indicated the driver complied and that the officer then told two passengers in the vehicle to put their hands where he could see them. Meanwhile, several other officers arrived at the scene and helped Butcher take the trio into custody.
Sears security staff told police that the driver (Bokor) was also a suspect in a Jan. 22 theft as well. Police said an inventory of the vehicle showed two saw blades and a wrench set, all from the Sears hardware section. In addition, officers said they recovered a spoon with burnt residue and two syringes. Police said questioning of the trio led to Bokor admitting to the thefts as well as acknowledging that he is a heroin addict and that he sells the tools to buy the drug. Police said the other two men told officers that they were also heroin users and that they knew what the driver intended to do, but didn’t think he’d go through with it.